Was Stinger Really Stung?
Is anybody buying this?
I mean, I don't have reason to doubt former Detroit Fox affiliate anchorwoman Fanchon Stinger when she says she was used and abused by her ex-boyfriend, and if she was, I'm glad she's out from under that mess. I also don't doubt her claim that her ex, the now-convicted Rayford Jackson, was as toxic as Synagro sludge.
But her interview with my man M.L. Elrick still left me rather puzzled.
For starters, there was this...
Speaking of Jackson, who was sentenced last month to 5 years in prison for bribery, Stinger said: "He portrayed himself as a moral, upstanding person who had a high level of values. ... All of that, in hindsight, was a carefully crafted lie."
Ya don't say. And Stinger, once one of the highest-profile TV journalists in this city, actually bought this lie? She thought Jackson was a "moral, upstanding person" despite the fact that he had a wife and four kids while they were dating? Despite the fact that, even before news of the scandal hit airwaves, there were still countless number of people in the city who knew good and well that Jackson was knee-deep in corruption? She didn't bother to check sources on this one?
Stinger said he often portrayed himself as someone trying to improve Detroit, despite opposition from his enemies.
Yeah, your man is a developer and a consultant for a sludge-hauling company whose deal calls for building another filthy incinerator in the city and you think of him as someone who wants to "improve" our town? And worse, according to Synagro anyway, you use your eponymous media consultancy to help lobby in favor of the dirty sludge-hauling deal?
OK, then, well what about when your own people started warning you about the dude, as her former Fox 2 colleague Scott Lewis said co-workers were doing well before she got fired?
Stinger declined to discuss that Tuesday.
Elsewhere in the piece, she says she started dating Jackson in 2005 and, by 2006, was loaning the dude $60,000 to "pay an investor." And then she says she bought him a Rolls-Royce and a Ferrari after he claimed a tax lawyer was working out "problems that complicated his finances." Guess the Chevy dealership was closed. Cool. But then why not just let him drive one of your own cars?
And it's not enough that she paid for high-end whips for the man. She also acted as Jackson's chauffeur...
One reason they were often seen together, Stinger said, is "he did not have a car to drive. So why was I with him? I was there to drive him around."
So the Rolls couldn't get him to the meetings with Monica Conyers on his own?
Of course, the kicker for me was when Stinger claimed, "I would never have imagined that someone would take money and never intend to pay it back." But, as Elrick points out at the end of that very same line, the woman spent years working as an investigative reporter at Fox 2.
Isn't that remark then akin to a veteran homicide cop with years on the job professing utter shock at the idea that someone might actually shoot another person?
Look, I get that Stinger wants to rehabilitate her image, which took a severe beating during the scandal. (Let me also add that I'm not totally convinced that she should've been fired to begin with, given that she was never investigated or charged and that Fox seems to have no qualms about employing other dubious characters.) I also respect that Stinger says she wants to crusade against domestic violence and get back to TV, where she once earned as much as $320,000 as, in my opinion, a pretty solid on-air personality. And since I have a tendency to root for homegrown journalism talent, I'd like to see her land somewhere.
Throughout the 90-minute interview, Stinger repeatedly placed the blame for her summer 2008 firing from Fox 2 on Jackson, and deflected any personal responsibility for a liaison that raised sharp questions about her ethical responsibilities as a broadcast journalist.
I'd have to imagine that any prospective audiences and/or employers might still harbor those sharp questions about Fanchon Stinger's credibility. And if you ask me, her interview with the Freep didn't do much to dispel them.